The claim from Suella Braverman this weekend that rough sleepers living on the streets in tents do so as ‘a lifestyle choice’ does not reflect the reality of our clients’ existence, nor the truth of the myriad of complex trauma that they have experienced to lead them to the place of crisis in which they find themselves.

To echo the response of Homeless Link; the number of people sleeping rough in England is rising rapidly. It’s absurd to suggest that this is down to “lifestyle choices” or that the answer is a “crackdown” on people sleeping rough and the charities that support them. No one should be sleeping rough in a tent in our country.

Solutions are needed that include regulation of the private rented sector to keep rents affordable, long-term government investment in social housing, and an increase in local housing allowance to reflect local rent levels. Nowhere is this acute lack of adequate affordable housing felt more than in our county.

Our recent Cathedral service which is an annual and key part of the Big Sleep Out event, followed the theme of compassion. Punishing someone for being homeless isn’t compassionate. Preventing charities from giving tents to people who need them isn’t compassionate.

We call upon our community to challenge this divisive rhetoric and choose the compassion in action which is realised every day through our staff, volunteers and supporters.

There are so many ways you can join and contribute to our mission to prevent homelessness and restore lives. Head to our website to see how you can make a difference: